Aussie shares are treading water ahead of a leadership vote in Canberra which is due to take place at 12.20pm AEST. The ASX 200 is flat after falling for 1.5 per cent over the past three days and remains on track to have its worst week in five months due to losses from the banks in recent sessions.
US markets provided a weak lead overnight while US-China trade tensions continue with no signs of improving. Both nations imposed US$16bn in tariffs on each other’s imports and high level talks in Washington wrapped up with no signs of significant progress.
Westpac (WBC) is down 2.5 per cent after releasing a quarterly update on its margins which have fallen over the third quarter. NIM fell from 2.17 per cent to 2.06 per cent; the lowest in approximately three years. Other banks are mostly lower.
The busiest week of the year for annual profit results is now coming to an end with fewer companies posting their numbers today. Medibank (MPL) is down 1.5 per cent after posting a below consensus FY18 profit of $445.1m. The result was held back partly by lower returns on its investments and boosted most by its core Health Insurance division.
Australia’s largest fruit and vegetable grower, Costa Group (CGC) is down 8 per cent and accounting software company, MYOB Group (MYO) is slipping by 3.5 per cent.
Mayne Pharma (MYX) is up 19 per cent as the drug company posted its annual earnings which were underpinned by a much better second half.
Brambles (BXB) is up 7.5 per cent after the pallet company posted a 4 per cent lift in underlying profit to US$996.7m and announced plans to sell one of its international crate units.
Star Entertainment (SGR) handed down a 44 per cent slide in annual earnings to $148.1m. The casino operator was more upbeat on its FY19 outlook and its shares are up by 7 per cent at lunch.
Afterpay Touch (APT) is lifting by 5.5 per cent. The company offers retailers a ‘buy now, pay later’ platform and successfully raised $117m from investors to help fund its international expansion strategy.
No major data is due for release in Australia or the region.
1.5bn shares have changed hands so far worth $3.3bn. 519 stocks are up, 540 are down and 407 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec